Riding On Scars To Reach The Stars

by Patrick Liew on September 30, 2016

There was an evening scene that I’ll never forget for the rest of my life.

A living room of a resort in Langkawi, Malaysia. Six of us were sitting around a table and deep in a discussion.

There were looks of despair, fear and helplessness – three potent emotions that when mixed together would drive anyone down an emotional spiral.

Prior to that moment, I had given everybody a summary of our business’s strategic and financial positions.

The prognosis was not good. In fact, my conclusion was that we had come to the end of the road.

Some years before that painful evening, we had founded a technology company during the dot-com boom.

At the initial stage, our start-up had big dreams, great promises and you could say, staggering achievements too.

Within a short period, we had thousands of clients paying us a decent fee. They came from more than ten countries.

That achievement was probably unprecedented and record-breaking.

Most dot-com companies were providing freebies while chasing eye balls. They also never quite grown beyond their home and neighbouring countries.

We were certainly on a roll. It seemed like nothing could stop our technological juggernaut.

Then came the dot-com crash in 2001. By then, we had many copy cats.

Meanwhile, there was a wave of disruptive innovations that turned our “radical innovation” into a normal proposition.

We were facing multiple disruptions on many fronts and throughout the value chain.

There were no more road ahead of us.

We were facing untamed jungles and they were looming over us in a hostile way.

That night, there wasn’t even a single star on sight to guide us forward.

After my short message, there was a deep silence. It was like an avalanche had suddenly buried us up to our neck with snow.

The initial coldness was gradually biting deeper and deeper into our being.

After what seemed like ages, I finally broke the silence.

“We have no other choice. So far, we have invested more than $4 million into the company.

“We can’t go on pouring money into a deep dark well. Let’s close the company.”

The proverbial guillotine was released.

In this case, our life was not taken away in a split of a moment.

It was worse.

We felt like our baby was forcibly taken from us and the sharp blade had cut through our hearts.

After that meeting, you could imagine how all of us had walked out of the door and into the darkness of the night.

What was more painful was that we were gradually being swallowed by the darkness in our spirit.

The next few days, I was a tormented soul.

I couldn’t get my brain to face my heart or for that matter, any other part of my being.

Shortly after, my team and I decided to fight back. We believed that we have many more fights left inside us.

We decided not to run away from disruptive forces. Instead, we would take them by the horns.

We would beat our way through hostile jungles until we can build a bigger and better road to freedom.

Long story short, our company went on to recover losses. We stopped the bleeding and became one of the most profitable dot-com companies.

We eventually became the seventh fastest growing company in the Asia Pacific region according to Deloitte & Touché in 2005.

Through that amazing turnaround experience, we learned deeply about disruption and how to respond to it.

If you travel on the same road, you’ll always reach the same destination.

To go to a better destination, improve the road, find a better road, or develop your own road to the future.

You can turn a disruptor into an enabler so as to capitalise on silver lining in every cloud for stronger growth.

The future is up for grabs.

Seize your destiny now.


I hope this message will find a place in your heart.

By the way, I have also recorded other reflections.

Please ‘Like’ me on https://m.facebook.com/patrickliewsg

Visit my Inspiration blog at http://liewinspiration.wordpress.com/

For my opinions on social affairs, please visit my Transformation blog at http://hsrpatrickliew.wordpress.com/

Please visit my website, http://www.patrickliew.net

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Please read my reflections and continue to teach me.

Life is FUNtastic!


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